I very much appreciated your article on the time honored maritime tradition known as the equator crossing ceremony wherein we go from being Pollywogs to Trusty Shellbacks.
You see, just a few weeks earlier I’d explained to my wife in great detail how our son, a cadet on the sea training cruise at the California Maritime Academy, would soon be enrolled in this ancient order by none other than Neptunus Rex and how the ceremony would serve as a common bond between him and the many other mariners he would meet throughout his life. I related in great detail the events you so acutely recounted in your article. I can also recall that Prell was the only shampoo effective at removing the lard out of our short hair and it taking days if not weeks for the stench to leave the nostrils. Imagine my shock and horror when my son informed me that there was no ceremony, simply an announcement that the equator was crossed!
Has the fear of liability gone so far as to doom this time honored tradition? One would think that somewhere on that continuum between KEELHAULING the Wogs and simply announcing to them that they’d crossed the equator, one could find a memorable point around which to reinstate and continue this fine tradition. As usual your article was right on point and right on time.
Jeff Fantazia Vice President Operations Jones Stevedoring Company